Private: Kennedy debut

Heather Havrilesky generally likes Dan Kennedy’s Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation:

Despite his current successes — Kennedy is director of creative development at Atlantic Records and a contributor to McSweeney’s and Bookforum — the author drags out a long history of the most embarrassing sorts of mistakes and parades them around for our amusement.

Kennedy isn’t simply indulging in the self-flogging voice that’s hip at the moment. In fact, he shelves his ego completely, dredging up absolute catastrophes without flinching or hedging or couching it all in self-consciousness or padding it with “I already know that you know that I know” footnotes like fellow McSweeneyan Dave Eggers. Despite the rambling, slightly scrappy nature of his narrative, Kennedy’s utter lack of excuses, posturing or pretense give “Loser Goes First” a trustworthy, likable voice and make it a fascinating read for anyone who gets a perverse thrill from reading about someone else’s crappy decisions.

You can read Kennedy’s work online at McSweeney’s, Pindeldyboz, and elsewhere. He edits Really Small Talk and is reading in New York City next Wednesday.